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Picture

Picture

  • Place of origin:

    St Petersburg (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1750 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lomonosov, Michael (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Micromosaic and gilt wooden frame

  • Credit Line:

    The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.224:1-2008

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Micromosaics have their roots in the larger mosaics of ancient Rome used to decorate their walls and floors. The first micromosaics were created in the 18th century, but it was not until Arthur Gilbert himself became interested in collecting them and invented the term 'micromosaics' that they became known as such. The tesserae are minute pieces cut from thin pieces of glass known as smalti filati, and some of the finest micomosaics can consist of as many as 5,000 tesserae per square inch (ca. 3 by 3cm). By the late 18th century Rome had become central to the production of micromosaics and sold them as souvenirs to wealthy foreigners visiting the city. From small elegant snuffboxes to large monumental tabletops, micromosaics could be used to decorate objects of all shapes and sizes. They could even be made to resemble full-sized canvas paintings, and indeed Arthur Gilbert himself mistook his very first micromosaic for a painting. When he brought it home to show his wife, he had to convince her that it was not in fact a cracked painting, as she supposed, but a mosaic.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.

Physical description

Large oval mosaic depicting a bust length Madonna facing the viewer, her eyes turned down and her hands held together in prayer. She wears a red gown, a blue robe and has a gold headscarf. The mosaic is surrounded by an oval gilt frame.

Place of Origin

St Petersburg (probably, made)

Date

ca. 1750 (made)

Artist/maker

Lomonosov, Michael (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Micromosaic and gilt wooden frame

Dimensions

Height: 63.1 cm, Width: 49.9 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Antonnacci-Efrati, Rome, 1969.

Descriptive line

Oval mosaic depiction of Madonna, prob. St Petersburg, attributed to Michael V Lomonosov, ca.1750.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Sherman, Anthony C. The Gilbert Mosaic Collection. Edited by M. Barbara Scheibel. West Haven, Connecticut: Pendulum Press, 1971, pp. 20-21, colour plate IV
Gonzalez-Palacios, Alvar. The Art of Mosaics: Selections from the Gilbert Collection, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1977. 143 p., ill. Cat. no. 12. ISBN 0875870805.
Gonzalez-Palacios, Alvar and Steffi Röttgen with essays by Steffi Röttgen, Claudia Przyborowski; essays and new catalogue material translated by Alla Theodora Hall. The Art of Mosaics: Selections from the Gilbert Collection. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1982. 224 p., ill. Cat. no. 12. ISBN 0875871097
Gabriel, Jeanette Hanisee with contributions by Anna Maria Massinelli and essays by Judy Rudoe and Massimo Alfieri. Micromosaics: The Gilbert Collection. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd. in association with The Gilbert Collection, 2000. 310 p., ill. Cat. no. 2, p. 52. ISBN 0856675113.

Materials

Mosaic glass; Gold; Wood

Techniques

Mosaic; Gilding; Framing

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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